This story is part of the 2020 Project, a special men’s health project that examines the lives of 20 different 20-year-old men across America. To learn more about the others, click here.
AS PARTS Liam Elkind was banned earlier this year. In the beginning, he was found on a stranger’s doorstep in New York City in a mask and gloves with a smartphone in hand and a grocery bag in tow.
Elkind is the co-founder of Invisible Hands Deliver, a service that allows anyone with an internet connection to submit a shopping request, which is then assigned to a volunteer to do the shopping. “I understand the need for social distancing. But saying the only thing you can do is nothing “- essentially what public health officials said through #stayathome -” feels like such a non-response, “Elkind says.
In March, he read a Facebook post from a family friend who was looking for food delivery resources to help the immunocompromised. There were no useful answers, just friends expressing a similar desire for help.
So Elkind and his friend distributed flyers with Elkind’s number, offered to deliver goods and recruited volunteers. Several hundred people wanted to help within a few days. Invisible Hands Deliver now has more than 10,000 volunteers in New York, Philadelphia and New Jersey.
Elkind took up to a year off Yale to expand the program. “It’s fascinating to meet people I would never have met without this pandemic.” Who knows which door might open next?
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